1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Courses Why do I have to take "Calc-Based Physics"as a Math major?

Tags:
  1. Jun 3, 2016 #1
    Hi, why do I have to take calculus based physics, if I'm a math major? I don't mind taking algebra based physics like i did in high school. But WHYYYY calc based physics? Any wise man out there mind to give a piece of advice? I never find interests in physics, how well I will do if I just know something like: F=ma, p=mv, and basic physics equations as such? is higher level physics hard?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2016 #2

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    You will like the Calculus-based Physics courses more than the Algebra-based kind, especially if you're a Math major. Why would you want the weaker set? You may need to derive some relationships as part of the learning-exercises, and Calculus as a tool should fit your interests very well.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2016 #3
    I could understand the point of "taking the harder." But my previous with physics didn't went down that well. I can derive math equations, not physics though. having trouble applying math in gen.physics at my high schools. I have so far completed Calc II. but applying calc to physics sounds a bit iffy to me. o0)
     
  5. Jun 3, 2016 #4

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    You want Physics? You will learn and use Calculus, greater Algebra than just intermediate, Trigonometry of various complexity, some Linear Algebra, and vectors and Calculus. Physics does not come without Calculus. Derivatives and Integrals are used for expressing things about Physics.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2016 #5

    Fervent Freyja

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A mathematics major passing up the opportunity to have fun sounds a bit iffy to me... Taking it with Calculus will deepen your understanding of algebra and calculus by working through so many problems in the textbook that have real-life applications.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2016 #6
    Who told you that you "have" to take calc based physics? Or any physics at all? If you have no interest in physics why would you take it?

    Now, if someone recommended that IF you take physics, THEN it should by calculus-based, well that makes sense to me and probably to anyone else here.
     
  8. Jun 3, 2016 #7
    Either thats a joke or you don't know anything about physics aha the fundamentals of physics relie on calculus, I use calculus every day in my physics degree (and many other areas of maths)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  9. Jun 3, 2016 #8
    I dunno about that, consider I did a lot of analytic studies on calculus and algebra. and math isnt about application, it's the beauty behind it.
    What my main concern is why i have to take it as a math major, and if i do, is it gonna be hard? as it is mandatory course to obtain my associate degree, so far.
     
  10. Jun 3, 2016 #9

    MarneMath

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Because there's never any harm in forcing yourself to learn how your math can be applied to real world scenarios. In college, I loved optimization. I really loved a lot of the theory and I could study it all day. However, it wasn't until I met a researcher in the corporate world when I truly began to appreciate the power of the methods and theory I was learning. Knowing theory is neat, learning how to take that theory and apply it to messy real world events is powerful. It's a skill you will have to learn eventually in life, so you might as well start early.
     
  11. Jun 3, 2016 #10

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Probably because it's a required course. If you are not happy with that, complain to your department.
     
  12. Jun 3, 2016 #11

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You will find it very hard unless you also know that ##a = d^{2}x/dt^{2}## and ##v = dx/dt##.

    Incidentally, I prefer to remember ##F= dp/dt## instead of ##F = ma##.
     
  13. Jun 3, 2016 #12
    Why would you learn the violin and never listen to a symphony?:biggrin:

    Kidding aside, calculus-based physics is so different than algebra based physics that I personally don't even think algebra-based physics should exist. No one develops a great intuition for physics from algebra, but people do so with calculus. Newton developed calculus to solve problems in physics. You realize things like all those constant acceleration kinematics equations come from Newton's second law, ##F = m \ d^2 x/ dt^2##. You can actually understand the relationship between acceleration, velocity, and displacement using the derivative. You learn why, historically, certain mathematics concepts came about. You'll also find that (well, at the higher levels), there is a surprising amount of beautiful mathematics in physics.
     
  14. Jun 3, 2016 #13
    Dude, my situation is so similar to yours, that it's not even funny. Nonetheless, I will also benefit from reading the advice given in this topic.
     
  15. Jun 3, 2016 #14

    Choppy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    The first thing to keep in mind is that you don't *have* to take calculus-based physics. If you really don't want to, then I'm sure you could find a program somewhere that doesn't have this as a requirement. You are *choosing* this program. Taking calculus-based physics is an aspect of the program that you are experiencing some trepidation about. That's understandable - particularly if you've had a negative experience with high school physics.

    With regards to the reason why it's a good idea for a math major to take physics, the answer should be fairly obvious. No science is done in isolation, and any school that does not encourage a foundational understanding in tangential fields is doing you a major disservice. If you go far enough in your studies of mathematics you'll need to eventually justify why your studies are worth someone paying you to do them. Understanding real-world applications is a necessary part of that.

    Secondly, I'm not sure it's possible to really understand math without at least an introductory level understanding of physics. This will allow you to appreciate the history of mathematics and why certain problems were postulated and solved when they were.
     
  16. Jun 3, 2016 #15
    I question whether you have the ability to pursue a math degree. Mathematics is not solely using an algorithm to solve trivial problems. Most likely, up till now, all your math classes consisted of plugging and chugging. You believe you were good at math, because you can get an A on a superficial test. You question whether intro physics is hard. This is an absurd question coming from someone majoring in mathematics. Math is hard, so is physics. If you are not a genius, don't mind only getting 3 hours of sleep during a semester, and sometimes receiving a bad grade after trying your all, then I am afraid Mathematics is not for you.

    There is beauty in everything. The problem is how things are presented. I once disliked physics, but having taken an introduction to electricity and magnetism, I found it beautiful. Studying physics has given me better intuition, problem solving skills, and a means to condense what I know into analogies. The analogy part is important. As a math major, I was infatuated with rigor. I began to realize that yes, rigor is important, but there has to be a balance with intuition. Math gives me rigor and Physics intuition.

    Physics can also help you understand some ideas and previous math classes under a different light.
     
  17. Jun 3, 2016 #16

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Since calculus was invented by Newton and Leibnitz to solve physics problems, I fail to see how applying calculus to physics could be "iffy".
     
  18. Jun 3, 2016 #17

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    How about you ask this very question to your academic advisor?

    Zz.
     
  19. Jun 3, 2016 #18
    That sounds rough...
     
  20. Jun 3, 2016 #19
    And I disagree with it completely. If you're only getting 3 hours of sleep a night, then that will hurt you far more than the extra studying will help. It is possible to major in a difficult subject, do well, and have a social life without sacrificing all your sleep.
     
  21. Jun 3, 2016 #20

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Right. I have very rarely went without a good night sleep in my undergraduate years.

    That said, physics is absolutely crucial when it comes to math. You want to be a good mathematician, then I'm afraid you'll need to know some physics. Somebody who can't or doesn't want to do a simple calc based physics course doesn't deserve being called a mathematician. So much math makes so much more sense with some physics background!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: Why do I have to take "Calc-Based Physics"as a Math major?
Loading...